The sport of boxing has played a pivotal role in this country’s history, from the “Great Depression” through today whenever this nation has a dilemma millions turn towards boxing. There are some who find courage enough to step inside a ring and chance improving their lives while others gravitate towards the sport for inspiration. It’s that inexplicable influence over people which separates this sport from all others and those results are always for the better.
One of the dilemmas this nation faces today is gun violence, especially among our youth and young adults. In 2017 the most recent year data is available on total amounts of gun deaths in America, 39,773 gunshot wounds claimed the lives of Americans and since 2013 the average amount of gun deaths due to violent altercations in 11,000-12,000 per year. The boxing circle has once again stepped up to play a pivotal role in a dilemma plaguing this country; they are sending a message with its series of “Gloves up Guns Down” campaigns.
The message is simple and clear, if physical altercation is the only alternative to settling a dispute grab some gloves step inside a ring and battle it out. This past weekend in Newburgh NY, with a lot of help from friends across the Atlantic Ocean the inaugural “International Guns Up Gloves Down Box Cup Tournament” took place with huge success.
This special event was hosted by Coach Leonard Lee’s “Newburgh Hook Elite” boxing club and came to fruition with help from Shawn Crowley head of Ireland’s “Erne Boxing Club”. The event would not have been truly international without visiting teams from the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and Denmark some have their own dilemmas of street violence others just offering their support for a great cause.
Over the three day event with former world champions “Downtown” Leona Brown and Sonya “The Scholar” Lamonakis in attendance offering their support , one hundred fighters who entered the tournament faced off in a total of forty five bouts or sparring exhibitions for those fighters not matched up against opponents.
The following clubs from the United States, Canada and Europe were in attendance
Representing the United States-
“Hook Elite Boxing Club” Newburgh
“Hittaz Boxing Club” Albany
Representing team Ireland-
“Erne Boxing Club” Derrylin
“Olympic Boxing Club” Mullingar
“Loughshore A.B.C” Loughshore
Representing team United Kingdom-
“Romford Hammers” Romford
“Newham Boxing Club” West Ham
“Right Stuff Boxing Club” Stafford
Representing Canada would be Lucas Cranston
Representing Poland would be Joanna Czerwinska
Representing Denmark would be Cecila Koella
“Downtown” Leona Brown former world champion and area resident posed for photos with fighters
While all did a phenomenal job there were some who stood out more than others, the following were acknowledged for their excellent performances.
Raimier Walker out of “Heavy Hitters Boxing Club” was presented with Best US Boxer after scoring two wins over an Irish national champion.
Alfie Jordan out of the “Olympic Boxing Club” was presented with Best European Boxer, after scoring three straight wins.
Cecile Koelle the Denmark native who fights out of “Beaver Boxing” in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada was awarded Best Female Boxer of the event after she scored wins over the United Kingdom and Ireland.
With two stoppages wins Tim Olla out of the “Romford Boxing Club” was awarded Best Overall Boxer of the event.
Winning the tournaments Team Cup would be Derrylin Ireland’s “Erne Boxing”
Awarded best Coaches were Tyshaun Goldston of Hittaz Boxing and Sean Crowley of Erne Boxing Club.
Special thanks were awarded to Bill Kaplan of the Kaplan Foundation for their continued support with “Newburgh Hook Elite”. The Newburgh Armory venues host Jimmy O’Donnell and family did an amazing job at not only preparing the venue but providing refreshments during the event.
Without time and dedication of Max Cuacuas who was also present and led pre-event prayer for safety of all involved, USA boxing officials Sonya Lamonakis, Darryl Bettie, Paul Brown, Lou Cedella, Marty Steinhilber, Tim Silva, Gary McGillion, Sue Winslow, Brad Winslow, Pat McNamee and Ringside Physician Dr. Rufus Sadler this event would of not been able to happen
This event most importantly the message behind the event was spectacular, the fact these teams were able to join together without assistance from law enforcement or politicians speaks volumes. In future years I look forward to attending the event and seeing its message spread not only in our community but all communities around the world.